Safety of Navigation
The Ports and Yachting Directorate through the Valletta Ports Vessel Traffic Service (Valletta VTS), the Traffic Management section and the Malta Hydrographic Office (MHO), provide assistance to vessels navigating within Maltese territorial and internal waters.
The Traffic Management section deals mainly with the terminal operators and ship agents and handles the pre-arrival and pre-departure notifications and berth planning.
Transport Malta provides a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) which monitors the movement of participating vessels within the Ports VTS area.
Mariners are advised to maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 12 within the Valletta VTS area, on Channel 14 within the Marsaxlokk VTS area, and on Channel 10 within Mgarr LPS in Gozo.
Channel 16 is a DISTRESS, SAFETY AND CALLING CHANNEL ONLY - Other than for distress it must only be used to establish contact before going to a working channel.
All vessels within Valletta Harbour, Marsaxlokk Port and Mgarr Harbour (Gozo) navigating or at anchor, secured to a buoy or within territorial waters shall at all times maintain a listening watch on allocated VHF channel.
The objective of Valletta VTS and Marsaxlokk VTS is to:
Aid the mariner in the safe and efficient use of navigable waters within the VTS area;
Communicate timely and important information to vessels participating in the monitoring programme to support their on-board decision making process;
Assist in providing a harmonious interface between recreational and commercial shipping; and
Provide an effective communications base for the response to any safety or pollution incident.
Both Valletta VTS and Marsaxlokk VTS provide the following services as described in the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authority (IALA) Guidelines and Recommendations.
Valletta VTS and Marsaxlokk VTS provide a continuous service to monitor and manage the movement of participating vessels within the Ports VTS area.
VTS COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES
1. Vessels to be subjected to Traffic Service:
Ocean-going ships for international route
Ships over 500 Gross Tonnage
Cargo Ships carrying dangerous goods
Tugboats with towage line
Fishing boats with length 45 metres or longer
Towing vessels for construction work
Oil tankers or Waste Oil Carriers with gross tonnage of 300 tonnes or less
Passenger and cruise ships
Recreational crafts over 45 metres
High speed-crafts and fast ferries
2. VTS Reporting Procedures
a) Pre-Entry Reporting
Report on expected arrival of a ship to VTS at least 2 hours before arrival: Vessel Name, Call Sign, ETA, last port of call and purpose of visit (for tankers whether loaded or in ballast).
Yachts are required to provide: Yachts name, ETA, length overall, passengers onboard, last port of call and intentions.
The designated reporting points for vessels arriving in port are: 2 hours before arrival, 1 hour before arrival, 5 nautical miles off pilot station, at pilot station, when pilot is onboard, at breakwater, at berth and pilot off.
b) Pre-Movement/Shifting Reporting
Report on expected movement of a ship to VTS at least 2 hours before shifting: Vessel Name, Location, Estimated time of shifting
Report on commencing of movement: Vessel Name, Call Sign, Location, Pilot onboard and Cast off.
Report on movement completion: Vessel Name, Call Sign, Location, at berth and pilot off.
c) Pre-Departure Reporting
Report on expected departure of a ship to VTS at least 2 hours before departure: Vessel Name, Call Sign, location, ETD and destination.
Yachts are required to provide: Yachts name, ETD, length overall, passengers onboard, next port of call and intentions.
The designated reporting points for vessels leaving port are: when pilot is onboard, casting off, at breakwater and pilot off.
The VTS centre can ask vessels that are not subjected to VTS reporting, to report on a port of departure, a port of arrival, time and purpose when
The Malta Hydrographic Office is responsible for gathering and providing hydrographic data, compiling and disseminating navigational charts, and preparing and promulgating maritime safety information, in compliance with the requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). The MHO is a full member of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO).
The MHO performs a wide variety of roles that include the promulgation of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) data to users of the marine environment, Bathymetric data for the production of Navigational Charts of Maltese waters that are made available in both paper and electronic formats. The MHO also monitors and administers the Aids to Navigation (AtoN) in Maltese waters.
Small Ships Regulations